You’ve got a stack of homeschool textbooks on your hip and your tepid coffee in your hand. You’re tossing dirty clothes into the washing machine with the other hand while telling the four-year-old for the hundredth time that, no, she cannot watch her show—not until TV time this evening.
You realize that your nine-year-old has been running the water in the bathroom for a very long time, much longer than necessary for brushing teeth. For a second you see red dollar signs flashing before your eyes in anticipation of this month’s water bill. And then the baby yells imperiously from the crib, and you feel like crawling back into bed and just not adulting today. Or tomorrow. OK, for a whole month.
We’ve all been there. We’ve been swamped, overwhelmed by the onrushing tide of our children’s needs—educational, physical, emotional, and spiritual.
Prayer helps. Scripture helps. Asking for help from friends and family is important too. But there’s one more way to manage that exhaustion, especially as you begin the new year.
Look for the little moments.
Here’s an example. Let’s say that while you’re doing the laundry, you find a couple of tadpoles in your daughter’s pocket. Or maybe a dead lizard or a beetle. Once you get past the “ew” factor, remind yourself how wonderful it is that she’s interested in living things. And then find a moment, maybe right before bed, when you can talk to her about her affinity for biology. Sure, you can ask that she empty her pockets before putting her clothes in the laundry—but if you focus on the good, you’ll come away from the interaction more grateful than frustrated.
My kids argue over the silliest things sometimes. But yesterday my son put his arm around his little sister’s shoulders, and my heart melted. When you see a moment like that, relish it. Draw encouragement from it.
One night, I passed my son’s room long after he was supposed to have turned out his lamp, and I noticed light gleaming under the door. As I went in, ready to chide him, he looked up from his book, cheeks flushed with excitement, eyes bright. I recognized that look because I’ve read past my own bedtime many a night. Biting off the words I was going to say, I let him read for ten more minutes—because sleep is important, but becoming a lifelong reader is even more important. I will never forget that little moment we shared, not as mother and son but as readers.
As a homeschool parent, you get to see the magical instant when a concept “clicks” for your child. You get to be there when your fourth-grader comes to you with a new discovery, or when your gangly teen sits patiently while your youngest stumbles through her first easy reader.
Look for the little moments. Hold them in your mind, or write them down so you can read them and remember and rejoice in what you, by God’s grace, have accomplished so far. Who knows what beautiful moments will come your way in this new year?
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Rebecca is a work-at-home freelance writer, novelist, wife, and the mom of two bright-eyed little ones. She credits her success in writing and her love of books to her own mom, who homeschooled three kids from pre-K through high school.